Ontario is extending a 5.7-cent cut to the gas tax until next summer, Premier Doug Ford announced Tuesday.
The government launched the cut in July 2022 and has extended it several times since, and now the reduction—along with a 5.3-cent cut to the price of diesel fuel—will remain until June 30, 2024.
"That's money that goes back into people's pockets to help cover essential expenses, because we know every dollar counts," Ford said at a news conference.
Ford first promised to lower gas prices by 10 cents per litre during the 2018 election campaign. At the time, Ontario's Progressive Conservative party said that would be done by scrapping the province’s cap-and-trade system and shrinking the gas tax.
The government did end cap-and-trade soon after the 2018 election, meant to lower prices by 4.3 cents a litre, but that prompted the federal carbon price backstop to kick in, negating those savings. Ford's government tried fighting the levy in court, but lost.
The premier has consistently railed against it since then, but a recent announcement by the federal Liberal government that it is lifting the carbon price off home heating oil for the next three years appears to have pumped renewed energy into the Ontario Tories' attacks.
"Last week, the federal government finally acknowledged how harmful the carbon tax is when they announced they're removing (it) from home heating oil," Ford said Tuesday morning as he announced the extension to the gas tax cut. "The fact is, the vast majority—95%—of people in Ontario do not heat their homes or businesses with oil. It's completely unfair that they still have to pay the carbon tax. So I'm urging the prime minister to play fair, do what's right and eliminate the tax altogether."
Soon after Ford's press conference, the Progressive Conservatives used the questions they are allowed to ask themselves in question period to criticize the carbon price, a strategy they have now employed for two days in a row.